Approach of Romeo and Juliet Laws in India

Legal Service (ISBN No: 978-81-928510-0-6),

5 Pages Posted: 28 May 2021

See all articles by Hariharan Venkateshwaran

Hariharan Venkateshwaran

University of Amsterdam; SASTRA Deemed University

Date Written: May 27, 2021


In India, the “age of consent” is 16. Meaning, that is the age at which a girl is legally capable of giving consent to sex. In the case of a girl below 16, her consent is not recognized by law. So, irrespective of consent, sex with a girl below 16 will expose her partner to the charge of “statutory rape”. This is an exception to the rule that sex based on mutual consent cannot be called rape. The exception in turn is based on the general premise that a girl below 16 is mentally not mature enough to take a call on sex. Such an age cap, however, applies only to girls because the repercussions of sex – whether biological, social or psychological – can be greater for them than for boys. Even otherwise, for all its progress towards gender equality. Where two minors engage in a consensual sexual relationship, in a paradox, they stand both as victims and perpetrators vis-à-vis each other, although ground-level reality results in boys being overwhelmingly treated as perpetrators and girls as victims. Also, the punishment for having sex with a minor is minimum 10 years imprisonment under the The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 along with Criminal Law Amendment Act of 2018 and the mandatory minimum sentences under the law provides absolutely no discretion to judges to consider mitigating factors and impose a lesser sentence. The Indian law cannot yet conceive of the possibility of a male partner ever getting raped!

Keywords: Romeo Juliet law, consent, statutory rape, The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Ac, POCSO Act, Criminal Law Amendment Act

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Venkateshwaran, Hariharan and Venkateshwaran, Hariharan, Approach of Romeo and Juliet Laws in India (May 27, 2021). Legal Service (ISBN No: 978-81-928510-0-6),, Available at SSRN: or

Hariharan Venkateshwaran (Contact Author)

SASTRA Deemed University ( email )

School of Law
SASTRA Deemed University
Tirumalaisamudram, Thanjavur, TN Tamil Nadu 613401

University of Amsterdam ( email )

Postbus 15654
1001 ND
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland 1001 ND
6383259704 (Phone)

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